It’s Verve, not “The” Verve

Back in the early 1990s ìTheî Verve were still called Verve, the Charlatans didnít have a UK tacked onto the end of them and Suede sucked the big one. Pardon me for sounding monotonous but Verve are further proof that the old ìthe EP is great but the album is like drinking paint stripperî theory is a valid one. Until proven otherwise of course. Verve started off as a freewheeling, psychedelic, dual guitar and dub influenced, sixties-sounding stoner epic outfit. Then they released ìBittersweet Symphonyî, changed their name to The Verve and began hitting up the middle of the road (in no particular order). Their first three EPs, however, showcased a different band entirely. ìSheís a Superstarî was in reality a single but because of its length (both a and b-sides clock in at around ten minutes) should really be considered an EP. ìGravity Graveî was perhaps their weirdest release ever, also about ten minutes long, with an extended mix of the song recorded live at Glastonbury. The All In the Mind EP featured my favourite Verve track of all time: ìMan Called Sunî, a spacey odyssey featuring some excellent noodling, cavernous echoes and a drum beat so slow it was probably on smack at the time. Together these three releases sum up a band that seemed to have no idea what was going on in the world around them. The music was just so different to a lot of stuff around at the time, itís a real shame that they then went on to become such poseurs. Donít even talk to me about the Richard Ashcroft solo experience. Enough said! But truthfully, I think the reason why I have such a soft spot for these three EPs is the fact that they remind me of the girl I was seeing at the time, whoíd been to England and came home with a tape of Verve songs that proved excellent for smoking weed and pashing to. Unfortunately, part of the tape was erased by her previous boyfriend, who somehow pressed the wrong button on the car stereo one day, or so Iím told. I can still hear the sound of car park noise, a kind of ìOh shit!î exclamation, and then a return to the swirling, dreamy music. I donít think she ever forgave him for that. I’ve still got a dubbed copy of the tape and managed to work the fact into the ending of a poem I recently wrote: “I made sure to dub your tape of early Verve/ second hand memories are all I deserve”. Sniff.

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